The Top 10 Translation Apps for Travelers

The Top 10 Translation Apps for Travelers

Translating a foreign language can be easy for some people and difficult for others. Most people don’t have the time, nor the patience, to learn a foreign language, even the most determined of travelers. Some people decide they want to travel the world encountering languages they have never learned. Fortunately, that’s where language translators, and translation apps, come into play. Here is a selection of the 10 most powerful translation apps for Travelers.

1. Google Translate

How It Works

This language translator app made by Google can provide a written translation for anything typed, spoken, or drawn over the touch screen of your phone. It offers a number of audio translations – and the number of languages keeps growing so, a traveler using this translation app will rarely find a language not listed.

The Good

  • A sizeable number of languages and dialects.
  • Audio translation capability.
  • Easy to use.
  • Google translations are incredibly comprehensive for travelers and anyone who uses them
  • but they can be unclear or inaccurate as well. As an example a sign in French saying “Cedez le passage” has an English translation given as “You do not have priority.”

The Bad

  • Asian characters can result in nonsensical and confusing translations.
  • Incapable of understanding expressions or phrasal verbs.

Number of Languages

Over 90 languages, and somewhere between 38 and 40 for audio translations.

2. TripLingo

How It Works

The language translator is, as its website says, the ultimate tool for travelers who might have other translation apps in their software collection, but this one is still a good one to have. It helps the user learn essential phrases, instantly translating voice input and can even  connect to a live translator so the user can learn the local culture and language. TripLingo offers travelers a translation app that allows translations for phrases ranging from formal, slang, casual to useful phonetic guides. Unlike Google translate, TripLingo comes with phrasebooks and audio lessons that are instructional, and it comes with tips on local etiquette. For an extra fee it also comes with a connection to a live human translator when all else fails.

The Good

  • The phrase-books’ varied translations are more sophisticated. For instance, you can say formal replies to questions or you can offer a more casual reply.
  • Voice translator.
  • Human translator connection.

The Bad

  • Costly – a free version exists, but it comes with only 20 phrases per language.

Number of Languages

TripLingo boasts over 23 languages from Vietnamese to Arabic.

3. iTranslate

How It Works

Unlike other translation apps, iTranslate doesn’t just translate the spoken or the written word for the traveler’s benefit – it can also slow or speed up audio playback to help you get an accurate pronunciation. The language translator is also a benefit for the traveler because it can save translations for reference by simply favoriting them and sending them to your home computer via email.

In Evernote, saved translations can become a good phrase-book to have.

The Good

  • Fast translations.
  • Bookmark translations and save them so you do not need to repeat them.
  • Can email your favorites collection which can also be turned into a phrase-book.

The Bad

  • English translations for languages with different alphabets – Arabic or Hebrew – are nearly impossible to pronounce for the traveler.

Number of Languages

This translation app comes with 92 languages, with 27 offered voice translations.

4. Waygo

How It Works

Even though this app is more limited than others in this list, it still has a place because Waygo is a good language translator for a traveler. This app works by holding the phone camera up to anything written in Japanese, Chinese or Korean. An English translation will appear at once. Like iTranslate, Waygo will store the translation and it saves your favorites. So, for example, this makes it easy for a traveler to retrieve the directions to a hotel which can be shown to a cab driver later.

The Good

  • Photo translation is incredibly fast – and it can even identify, for example, “eggplant with basil” in Chinese – this kind of translation is not possible with Google Translate.
  • Horizontal view, allowing for longer translations for the traveler.

The Bad

  • Interface is sensitive to movement, and difficult to focus.
  • Only able to see a few words at once can be a big annoyance for a traveler.
  • Can’t read handwriting.
  • No search function.

Number of Languages

Waygo comes with three languages – Japanese, Chinese, Korean; but French and Spanish are on the way.

5. iHandy

How It Works

As far as translation apps go, this one is a quicker and simpler language translator for the traveler, making it ideal for the person who wants a simple translation. iHandy comes with two menus – one, whereby you can choose a language from the database of the company, and, another bubble where you can simply type the word you want translated. You just need to type what you want translated, press the squiggle, and it translates.

There is a search history users can use, in the shape of a clock in the menu, and a list of recent activities will come up.

It’s possible to log in with Facebook or Twitter so, you can share translations with friends.

The Good

  • Comes with a simple, but accurate, interface – similar to Google translate used on a computer.
  • Comes with a list of former searches.
  • iHandy can share translations on Facebook and Twitter.

The Bad

  • The free version comes with ads.
  • No voice recognition.
  • Can’t translate photographs for the traveler.

Number of Languages

52 languages

6. Voice Translator

How It Works

Travelers, looking for a translation app, don’t want phrase books only, they want a language translator that can actually work with conversations. This app can record sentences and phrases and will translate into whatever language is chosen.

It’s also possible to have a conversation with somebody else who speaks a different language by simply passing the phone, with the app, back and forth, making this a powerful language translator tool. The app will then place the two languages side by side, so the speaker knows what’s being said.

The Good

  • Can translate a phrase into multiple phrases.
  • Can carry on a conversation.
  • The app can help you build a database of phrases.

The Bad

  • An internet connection is needed.
  • May need more than one try to get the correct translation.
  • A few users have experienced error messages.

Number of Languages

Quite a few, including Hebrew and Chinese.

7. Speak & Translate

How It Works

This language translator is another app that allows the traveler to communicate in several languages. It works in two ways – through speech and by audio. Like most translation apps, it will save the information.

The Good

  • Works offline as well as online.
  • You can write or speak into it.
  • Can save phrases.

The Bad

  • Sometimes the app needs work.
  • Might not be simple to use for some.

Number of Languages

Over 100 written languages, and 54 spoken.

8. SayHi

How It Works

Most translation apps can also work with Kindles as well as phones, and this app is no exception, although there are some limitations. When you speak into it, it translates, and the app claims over 95% accuracy, which is useful for some travelers who want a language translator.

The Good

  • Straightforward interface.
  • Programmable voice can be male or female.
  • Speed can be set to your preference.

The Bad

  • No Android version of the app available.
  • Needs an internet connection.
  • Some languages are text only.

Number of Languages

Direct speech-to-speech translation in over 90 languages and dialects, which includes an impressive list of Arabic dialects.

9. Clear Translation

How It Works

Travelers often want translation apps to read back the translations aloud, and Clear Translation offers this function. Like most apps, this language translator can send translation texts in emails.

The Good

  • Can listen to translations out aloud.
  • Internet access.
  • Simple interface.

The Bad

  • Needs an internet connection to work.
  • Doesn’t translate as many languages as other apps in the list.

Number of Languages

This app only translates 30 languages.

10. Microsoft Translator

How It Works

Microsoft Translator allows travelers to translate text, conversations, and photographs. Offline translation is possible, which makes Microsoft Translator more versatile than other language translators. Like other translation apps, this one can use phrase books to help users and allow multi-person translations by connecting the device – iPhone, etc. with up to 100 others using other languages as well. The app also allows camera translation to take place, so just point the camera at printed text and it translates.

The Good

  • Can work offline.
  • Multi-person function allows for more than one language to be used.
  • Translations can be shared with other apps.
  • Languages can be downloaded for offline use
  • Alternate translations that can give different meanings of a word.

The Bad

  • Sometimes the languages translated do not show up.
  • Some translations can be incorrect.
  • After 50 translations its best to delete the history.
  • Some languages can’t be detected – Arabic, possibly.

Number of Languages

The app can translate 60+ languages, but some can be downloaded for offline use.

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